Last time, we were discussing temporary traffic control (TTC) as part of the transportation management plan, and I left it with a promise to follow up with the importance of transportation operations and public information. As a refresher, here’s how those are defined:
- Transportation operations
Strategies used to mitigate effects of the work zone and impact area
- Public information
Communications strategies to inform affected road users, the general public, area residences and businesses, and appropriate public entities about the project. This includes expected work zone impacts and changing conditions on the project.
Let’s start off by expanding on transportation operations. Many work zone impact management strategies are used to minimize traffic delays, improve mobility, maintain or improve motorist and worker safety, and complete road work in a timely manner while making businesses and residents still have access. These TO properties include:
- Demand management strategies
- Corridor/network management strategies
- Work zone safety management strategies
- Traffic/incident management and enforcement strategies
Overall, developing these strategies will help keep the traffic operations flowing smoothly, even with a lot of construction work underway. But without an efficient public information approach, even smooth traffic operations can make for a headache when dealing with businesses and residents.
To reach the public, it’s critical to implement a community awareness plan (CAP) that includes public information communications strategies. Doing this involves outlining and coordinating a set of key steps in the plan:
- Determine appropriate size and nature of the public information and outreach campaign
- Identify resources. In most cases, public information and outreach spending are part of a road construction project budget
- Identify partners
- Identify target audiences
- Develop the messaging
- Determine communication strategies
- Determine communication timing
We also need to remember all of these pieces of the traffic control planning puzzle need to be coordinated properly. Work zone traffic control can be a complex undertaking that involves a large a number of agencies and other interested parties. This planning and coordination must begin early in a project design.
We’ve talked quite a bit about traffic control planning since this series started in September 2014, and I hope it’s been a help to everyone. We just have to remember that traffic control is joint responsibility of design, construction and traffic operations personnel. From start to finish, temporary traffic control plans need to be reviewed throughout the process with entities such as maintenance, community awareness teams, general public, transit agencies, businesses and local agencies.
With the end of this series, there are still more posts to come on some other interesting subjects, and I look forward to hearing from you no matter what that subject is.